Born: February 19, 1957 Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
The enduring success of Incognito is one of the great stories of UK music during the last 31 years. Look at the recent history of soulful UK artists and you will find any number of short-lived acts that have achieved pop success. Narrow the list to those that have created a uniquely British sound and that have endured as a global phenomenon on their own terms and the list becomes short. Dues, then, to Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick and Incognito, formed in 1979 and celebrating 31 years of positive vibes and undiluted jazz funk in 2010. From an early age, the UK live scene was a key inspiration for Bluey, having moved to London from his native Mauritius aged ten. Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, of course, Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang. But the real link to Incognito was UK bands like Gonzalez and FBI. These were people that lived in your town and walked your streets. ******************************* My first band was New Life with David Grant of LYNX, he remembers, his cousin Joe Williams later managed Light Of The World. I worked in his record shop in Tottenham and we would rehearse upstairs. Some of the future Light Of The World musicians band would pop in to jam. I switched from bass to guitar when Paul 'Tubbs' Williams came in, he was only 14 and blew everyones minds. Spawning a new band, the name Tower Block was changed to the more uplifting Light Of The World and, in 1978, Chris Hills Ensign imprint promptly signed them. We ended up at Phonogram Studios and could suddenly buy any equipment we wanted in their shop. No one stopped to think I can buy a car! All we could see was wah wah pedals and phaser units! The self-titled LOTW debut was a landmark for UK jazz funk featuring extended high energy club hits Swingin and Midnight Groovin, as well as a young Sade pictured on the cover. British jazz funk bands created a scene to an extent but we didn't embrace each other enough, reflects Bluey. It was about blowing each other off stage. We would know musicians but didn't like the way certain guys dressed. In the end, punk came along and stopped it in its tracks. In the 70s, there was a healthy live circuit in London. From pubs, you could graduate to the Q Club, Upstairs At Ronnie's. By the early 80's, we relied on DJs like Chris Hill booking a band for weekenders. I formed Incognito because I really wanted to take the music to the next level. My vision was to be a producer, a writer and part of a musical community. As Jocelyn Brown has said, Were in the business of music, not the music business. I started Incognito with Tubbs. Our first sax-man was Ghanaian music star George Lee and the drummer was Jeff Dunn (later with Van Morrison). We invited in keyboardist Peter Hinds and percussionist Gee Bello. Recording again for Ensign, the first Incognito offering was a demo instrumental, Parisienne Girl On Radio 1, before the news, they played filler music and used Parisienne Girl. You would hear it three or four times a day. Ensign then wanted an album which was all recorded in a few days. The debut Incognito set, 'Jazz Funk' was an instrumental tour de force, with guests numbering Hugh Masekela hornsmen Peter Segona and Claude Deppa and legendary Jamaican trombonist, Vin Gordon. I respect the musicians spirit 100%. With writing and producing, I knew that I could communicate and weed out the good from the bad. It was a lovely exchange and formed the whole ideology behind Incognito. After a brief foray into pop with North London Boy, many of the core Incognito band went separate ways. Paul Williams joined The Team with Gee Bello while Bluey continued writing and producing. I had a day job but was always writing and spotting people. I discovered 14-year old vocalist Steven Dennis (later re-named Steven Dante), in Hackney. I met and worked with Marcus Miller, producer Steve Harvey, Maxi Priest, George Duke, Caroll Thompson and others. I did anything to keep my love for music alive. It all helped me to develop as a songwriter. In the late 80s, Linn drums and sequencers were standard and I started creating tracks at home, reflects Bluey, including the main body of the Incognito 'Inside Life' album. Gilles was about to sign Young Disciples and was looking at where to go next. I had known him from his Radio Invicta days and he came to see us at the Southport Weekender playing Always There Gilles made the connection with Jocelyn Brown for the record. The David Morales remix paved the way for how Id make music in the future. His version was so simple and at that point, I embraced all DJs! With the single and Inside Life album in 1991, Incognito were back. Besides taking clubland, and the charts, by storm, Incognito unwittingly became smooth jazz heroes in the U.S. With their second Talkin Loud set, 'Tribes, Vibes & Scribes', Maysa Leaks vocals graced an update of Stevie's Don't You Worry Bout A Thing and an album track blew up on U.S. Quiet Storm radio. Bluey remembers, We had a hit with an instrumental called Larc en ciel de Miles. It was a simple tribute track but that and Deep Waters from our 'Positivity' album were huge. The key was Richard Bulls drum programming. That rhythm is now a staple on smooth jazz records. The success led to the bands Citrus Sun offshoot project in 2001. The albums that followed Tribes cemented Incognitos stature as a global phenomenon. 1993s 'Positivity' was among their best, crammed full of slick productions and universal hits like Still A Friend Of Mine and Givin It Up 'Positivity' sold almost a million worldwide. Bluey remembers. It really struck a chord with America. People identified with the songs and that album sealed it. '100 Degrees & Rising' super- sealed it. For that one, I brought in Joy Malcolm and Pam Anderson for some edge and we recorded at Abbey Road with a full string section, using Clare Fischers incredible string arrangements for Rufus as inspiration. I wanted to stretch my ability as a writer and producer and remember keeping a diary that inspired the lyrics. It was all about relating experiences as I felt them, not just about finding a catchy hook. Everything we did was accompanied by incredible remixes. I Hear Your Name, and Everyday had versions done by the best in the business like Roger Sanchez and Masters At Work. Stevie Wonder added harmonica to a re-work of Change It was such an important part of our success. ******************************* On-stage too, Incognito have retained a massive fan-base from their unmissable live shows. For Bluey, it is a chance to get close to his audience. Its not about playing the tune just to get applause. Its about communicating, making sure people get it. Its knowing that everyone shares a strong feeling of wanting to be together and experiences a little utopia, something thats not there in our daily lives. If I had to pick out some gigs, I'd say Sofia in Bulgaria, feeling the power of a crowd that are hungry for music. Montreux in 2005 too. We followed Craig David and the hall was packed... We rocked the house!! It showed me how far we have come. Post-Talkin Loud, the Incognito release schedule has been as busy as ever with a string of quality releases on UK label Dome and Bluey's own label set-up, Rice Records. The most recent album projects have, by critical acclaim, been some of Incognitos strongest. With 'Adventures In Black Sunshine', it was our 25th Anniversary and I used Incognito tunes as the blueprint. It was about what influence I could have on myself and how the band could deliver that. Other recent projects have included the Hope Collective single 'Give & Let Live' on Expansion, in aid of the Asian Tsunami victims and the people of Darfur in the Sudan, featuring an all-star cast including Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood and Omar. We always see bands like U2 getting political but it seems to happen rarely in soul music. It was good to readdress that situation. ******************************* 31 years on, the Bluey and Incognito story remains a one-off and a uniquely Great British adventure. From Top Ten hits to producing and arranging for Chaka Khan, Anastacia, Lulu, Philip Bailey and George Benson, Bluey Maunick can take his place among the greats of global soul. Its a wonderful time for music. Bluey quotes; We are entertainers, teachers, healers, we are lucky to have this labor of love and to be living the dream.
Source: Incognito Website
“It is a 15-track set of songs that embody the unique characteristics that are synonymous with the band’s reputation. The album is another remarkable blend of driving rhythms, high-impact horns, and stirring lyrics delivered by an array of expressive vocalists…Incognito’s urban sound is now and has always been a unique and feisty hybrid of funk, brass, retro soul and jazz, and this new album perfectly showcases the true ensemble energy that for years has made Incognito, and Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick alike, such an influential force in the music world.” Smooth Jazz Network
“…the band excels at its particular sound, a unique fusion of funk and jazz. Although Tales from the Beach marks their debut on new label Heads Up, longtime fans can be reassured the move has not altered their musical style… Overall, Tales from the Beach fits quite well within the Incognito catalog. Longtime fans will enjoy their familiar sound, while new listeners will enjoy their cool, laid-back beats. The band has never departed from their signature sound, and in this case, this familiarity is quite welcome.” BlogCritics.org
“In their latest album, Tales from the Beach, UK-based acid jazz band, Incognito, presents a sensually-rhythmic, optimistic collection of hits. Packed with 15 tracks that range from romantic ballads to upbeat jazz fusion numbers, Incognito produces a successful album, one that effectively showcases the musical talent of the group…There is virtually no weak track in Tales from the Beach, and while the album flows effortlessly from one track to another, each track is distinct enough to avoid monotony. Incognito is clearly a permanent presence in the music scene, with good reason: clear vocals combined with positive grooves equals musical success.” The CelebrityCafe.com
“Tales From The Beach offers all ingredients of a typical Incognito album: Sultry vocals, blissful horns and terrific arrangements. A gem of musical eternity.” Smooth Jazz Daily
“The crew turns up the acid jazz vibe on this set that was recorded around the eastern hemisphere and has an upbeat vibe running throughout it. More a concept than a band at this point, the gel is pulled in the right direction for some progressive action that never gets too outside the lines. A nice workout for contemporary jazz tastes.” Midwest Record
“Tales From The Beach was recorded in Italy, Germany, Indonesia, London, and mixed in Jakarta. It is an album of 15 refreshing & uplifting songs, each beautifully crafted; with guest vocals from Maysa Leak on ‘I’ve Been Waiting’, Tony Momrelle turns in a stunning vocal on ‘When The Sun Comes Down’; with other highlights including the four to the floor stomper, ‘Step Aside’ and ‘N.O.T.’, an acid jazz-flavoured tracks with horns reminiscent of the Average White Band.” Acid Jazz
Tracks: 1; Parisienne Girl. 2; Summer's Ended. 3; Shine On. 4; Wake up the City. 5; Interference. 6; Incognito. 7; Sunburn. 8; The Smile of a Child. 9; Why Don't You Believe Me?. 10; Chase the Clouds Away. 11; Walking on Wheels.
Composed by: Maunick, Williams, Doobay, Dunn, Hinds, Doobay.
Verve Forecast, Poligram
Tracks: 1; Inside Life. 2; One Step to a Miracle. 3; Journey into the Sunlight. 4; Gypsy. 5; Promise You the Moon. 6; Sketches in the Dark. 7; Metropolis. 8; Love Is the Color. 9; Soho. 10; Always There. 11; Crazy for You. 12;
Composed by: Maunick, Stuart, Robinson, Hinds, Muriel, Carless, Sanctuary, Allen, Jeffrey, Laws, Bull, Henry.
Tribes Vibes + Scribes
Tracks: 1; Colibri. 2; Change. 3; River in My Dreams. 4; Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing. 5; Magnetic Ocean. 6; I Love What You Do for Me. 7; Closer to the Feeling. 8; L' Arc en Ciel de Miles. 9; Need to Know. 10; Pyramids. 11; Tribal Vibes.
Composed by: Bull, Maunick, Wonder, Clahar, Virgi, Harvey
Tracks: 1; Step into My Life. 2; Still a Friend of Mine. 3; Smiling Faces. 4; Where Do We Go from Here. 5; Positivity. 6; Inversions. 7; Givin' It Up. 8; Talkin' Loud. 9; Deep Waters. 10; Do Right. 11; Pieces of a Dream. 12; Thinking 'Bout Tomorrow. 13; Keep the Fires Burning
Composed by: Bull, Hinds, Maunick, Harvey, Hayden, Hope-Taylor, Beesley, Virgi
100° and Rising
Talkin' Loud, Forcast/Verve, Polygram
Tracks: 1; Where Did We Go Wrong. 2; Good Love. 3; One Hundred and Rising. 4; Roots (Back to a Way of Life). 5; Everyday. 6; Too Far Gone. 7; After the Fall [instrumental]. 8; Spellbound and Speechless. 9; I Hear Your Name. 10; Barumba [Tribute to Luiz Eça]. 11; Millenium [instrumental]. 12; Time Has Come. 13; Jacob's Ladder [instrumental].
Composed by: Bull, Maunick, Hinds, Harvey, Beesley, Crampton
Beneath the Surface
Talkin' Loud/Verve Forecast
Tracks: 1; Solar Fire. 2; Labour of Love. 3; Beneath the Surface. 4; A Shade of Blue. 5; Without You. 6; Misunderstood. 7; Hold Onto Me. 8; Living Against the River. 9; She Wears Black. 10; Fountain of Life. 11; Out of the Storm. 12; Dark Side of the Cog. 13; All That You Want Me to Be. 14; Sunchild
Composed by: Maunick, Harvey, Hope-Taylor, Daniels
No Time Like the Future
Tracks: 1; Wild and Peaceful. 2; Get into My Groove. 3; It Ain't Easy. 4; Marrakech. 5; Fearless. 6; Nights Over Egypt. 7; Centre of the Sun. 8; More of Myself. 9; I Can See the Future. 10; Black Rain.
Composed by: Maunick, Oakenfull, Harvey, Hope- Taylor, Biggs, Wansel
Life Stranger Than Fiction
Talkin Loud, Sony International
Tracks: 1; Stay Mine. 2; Bring You Down. 3; Slow Down (Get a Grip). 4; Skin on My Skin. 5; Cut It Loose. 6; There Will Come a Day. 7; Castles in the Air. 8; Got to Know. 9; Reach Out. 10; Rivers Runnin' Black. 11; On the Road, Pt. 1. 12; On the Road, Pt. 2.
Composed by: Harvey, Maunick, Pert, Sanctuary, Oakenfull, Crampton, Hinds, Watson, Kerouac,
Who Needs Love
Tracks: 1; Can't Get You Out of My Head. 2; People at the Top. 3; Morning Sun. 4; Stone Cold Heart. 5; Cada Dia (Day by Day). 6; If You Want My Love. 7; Don't Be a Fool. 8; Byrd Plays. 9; Where Love Shines. 10; Did We Really Ever Try. 11; Blue (I'm Still Here With You). 12; Fly. 13;
Composed by: Cooper, Crampton, Glover, Maunick, Norton, Oakenfull, Rose, Thompson, Harvey, Lackey, Edwards, Grey, Sae, Weller.
Adventures in Black Sunshine
Narada, Pony Canyon, Edel
Tracks: 1; Don't Turn My Love Away. 2; Everything Your Heart Desires. 3; Close My Eyes. 4; The 25th Chapter. 5; True to Myself. 6; The Principles of Love. 7; This Thing Called Love. 8; Fences and Barriers. 9; Mindin' My Business. 10; Autumn Song. 11; Listen to the Music. 12; Mr. Jones. 13; The World Is Mine. 14; Beyond the Clouds
Composed by: Cooper, Maunick, Oakenfull, Norton, Glover, Thomson, Johnston, Harvey.
Pony Canyon, Dome
Tracks: 1; Let the Mystery Be. 2; We Got Music. 3; Come Away with Me. 4; Baby It's Alright. 5; When Tomorrow Brings You Down. 6; Jacaranda. 7; Show Me Love. 8; Will I Ever Learn?. 9; I'll Get By. 10; It's Just One of Those Things. 11; As Long as It's You.
Composed by: Cooper, Hylton, Maunick, Remy, Thomson, Glover, Oakenfull, Harvey.
Bees + Flowers + Things
Narada Jazz, Dome, Pony Canyon
Tracks: 1; Everybody Loves the Sunshine. 2; Everyday. 3; Summer in the City. 4; Always There. 5; Raise. 6; Still a Friend of Mine. 7; Tin Man. 8; Crave. 9; Deep Waters. 10; You Are Golden. 11; That's the Way of the World
Composed by: Ayers, Hinds, Maunick, Boone, Sebastian, Sebastian, Allen, Jeffrey, Laws, Oakenfull, Bull, Bunnell, Cooper, Stepney, White, White.
Tales from the Beach
Dome, Handcuts, Edel, Heads Up
Tracks: 1; Step Aside. 2; I've Been Waiting. 3; When the Sun Comes Down. 4; Love Joy Understanding. 5; I Come Alive (Rimshots and Basses). 6; Happy People. 7; N.O.T.. 8; Freedom to Love. 9; I Remember a Time. 10; It May Rain Sometime. 11; Never Look Back. 12; When Words Are Just Words. 13; Feel the Pressure. 14; Silence of My Mind. 15; Tales from the Beach.
Composed by: Hylton, Maunick, Grey, Bull, Cooper, Oakenfull, Harvey, Crampton, Momrelle.
Dome, Edel, P-Vine, Shanachie
Tracks: 1; Lowdown (Feat. Chaka Khan & Mario Biondi). 2; Everything That We Are (Feat. Lucky I Am). 3; 1975. 4; Your Sun My Sky (Feat. Maysa). 5; Line In The Sand (Feat. Leon Ware). 6; Gotta (Feat. Ursula Rucker). 7; Let's Fall In Love Again (Feat. John-Christian Urich (Tortured Soul)). 8; The Song (Feat. Chaka Khan & Mario Biondi). 9; Put A Little Lovin' In Your Heart. 10; All Of My Life. 11; Expresso Madureira. 12; Life Ain't Nothing But A Good Thing. 13; Make Room For Love. 14; Can't Get Enough (Feat. Mario Biondi). 15; The Winter Of My Springs. 16; listen 16. Tell Me What To Do.
Composed by: William Scaggs, David Paich, Jorjão, Cláudio Stevenson, Leon Ware, Chaka Khan, Mario Biondi, John-Christian Urich, Tommy Woolfolk, Ursula Rucker, Hylton, Maunick, Bull, Cooper, Oakenfull, Biggin, Rose, Dyani
Talkin' Loud/Verve Forecast
Last Night in Tokyo, Live 1996
Best of Incognito
Remixed/100 Degrees and Rising
Love X Love Who Needs Love Remixes
2 in 1
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